Another Black family is mourning a loved one and calling on the justice system to hold police officers criminally accountable.
The latest call comes from the family of Marvin Scott III, a 26-year-old Black man who died in March after being arrested by officers from the Colin County Sheriff’s Office in Allen, Texas, for marijuana possession. The young man’s family says that he was schizophrenic.
After first taking Scott to hospital because he was reportedly behaving erratically, officers then went on to detain the young man and restrain him to a bed in jail, as well as pepper spray him and put a spit hood over his head. Scott lost consciousness while in police custody and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
As The Root previously reported, seven police officers involved in Scott’s detaining were recently fired by Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner—who said last week that the cops’ actions violated office policies and procedures. Another officer involved in the incident has also resigned.
While Scott’s family say they welcome the dismissal of the officers from the police force, they are rightly calling for the repercussions the cops face to go further than that.
From Fox 4 News:
“The seven have been fired, and when he said that, electricity went through my body. I was so happy,” Scott’s father, Marvin Scott Jr., said.
“That’s a start. It’s a small increment but it’s a start,” Scott’s mother, LaShandra, said.
The Texas Rangers are conducting a separate criminal investigation.
Scott’s family wants to see charges.
“Right now, they’re fired and they’re at home, relaxing, looking for another job. So the charges mean everything,” Scott’s father said.
The Scott family says they will continue to protest outside the Collin County Sheriff’s Office until the officers are arrested.
The sheriff’s office is also conducting its own internal administrative investigation into the incident, Skinner has said. At a recent press conference, he said that “at the appropriate time he will provide all of the facts related to the investigation” to the Scott family. Among those facts is hopefully video footage from inside the jail, which the sheriff said is being reviewed by investigators, according to the Associated Press.
Speaking at the press conference last month, Skinner said he is unable to arrest the officers—as attorneys representing the Scott family have also called for—because he is required under state law to hand over the criminal case of an in-custody death to another law enforcement agency, in this case the Texas Rangers.
The Texas Rangers are in possession of the video footage of the officer’s interaction with Scott, said the sheriff.
But we know that not even video evidence of cops treating a Black man inhumanely—while he is in a mental health crisis at that—guarantees that they will face criminal charges for their actions.